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A Multi-Generational View of Car Buying Behavior

Car Buying baby Boomers

Marketing. That word alone encompasses so much, and yet is incredibly elusive. Whether you're an independent or franchise dealership, the competition to gain quality traffic and leads that result in real-life sales is higher than its ever been. No matter what brand you're selling, you might notice that only particular people visit your showroom. Depending on where your store is located, the majority of people signing lease and purchase contracts are subprime credit holders, elderly folk, or younger people. Can you widen your scope of buyers by creating specialized marketing strategies?

Absolutely.

In this series, we will be discussing the shopping trends, likes and dislikes of four generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (better known as Millennials) and the upcoming Generation Z. Equipped with this information, you'll be able to talk to your vendors to see what new campaigns can be launched in order to grab their attention. Or, if you're looking for a vendor that can create a strategy to increase your sales, we've got a solution for that too.

Part I: The Baby Boomers
Old School Values With a Tech-savvy Twist

The Baby Boomers, the people born between 1943 and 1964, are a sizable part of the population in the U.S. In fact, up until the Millennials, they were the biggest generation of the 20th century. Because they were working adults when the country was flourishing economically, they also have a strong foothold in buying power. Since they are retired, or are nearing retirement, the amount of time they have to shop around is part of what makes marketing agencies more likely to advertise to them as a group. Even so, there are a few things to keep in mind when deploying a new campaign.

  • Loyalty
    This is the group that is the most brand and style loyal. Whether it's eating the same sandwich every day for lunch for the past twenty years, or buying a new model every five years from the same make, their loyalty is hard to break. Which also means that they are less likely to visit a new dealership, unless there's a coupon or a returning customer discount.
  • Bargain-lovers
    Baby Boomers are more likely to purchase a product if there's a bargain. In fact, a 2014 study found that 75% of Baby Boomers will put their brand loyalty aside to buy a new product if there is a discount. You might think that this applies to everyone because who doesn't want to take part in a worthwhile promotional offer? As with all things in advertising, what makes the difference is how the sale is presented. Focusing on special pricing will entice these consumers to at least visit your store and test drive your vehicles.
  • Customer Service Means Everything
    Multiple reports have shown that after a good price, the best way to gain new Baby Boomer buyers is by having strong customer service. While this is something that any business should strive for, it's what will keep them coming back to your store with their friends and family. Even if the prices are a little higher and the product is not be exactly what they want, if the sales team is courteous, respectful, and genuinely tries to meet them at least halfway, you'll gain their loyalty.
  • Researching Online, But To a Point
    There is a gap between how women and men research products online. While both groups are less likely to use a mobile device for their research, they do use the internet to learn about services and products. Men are more likely to use manufacturer and dealer websites for their research, but women spend more time on social media networks and are more likely to make purchases online. One study pointed out that the best way to reach Baby Boomer women is by having ads online, and not through the television as is often assumed.

At this point, you might wonder how to implement all of this information in your marketing tactics. The key to doing so rests in both behaviorally and geographically targeting this group. Making your dealership's website more informative and user friendly, changing the phraseology of paid advertisements, and even upping your posts on social media are just a few ideas. At DealerLeads, we utilize this and other information about the population in your vicinity to customize campaigns to gain the highest quality traffic and leads. If you're not sure what your current vendor can do for you, drop us a line or give us a call and let us show you what we can do.

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for our next segment in this series about Generation X. >